Crackdown on Debt Relief Scams

We get the calls frequently at our home.

Robocallers offer to help reduce credit card debt. We’re on the Do Not Call Registry, but these sales people call anyway. We rarely pick up the phone when Caller ID alerts us that it’s a robocall, or a sales person. We know that they don’t really want to help anyone but themselves.

They call and promise to help you reduce your credit card debt and it sounds great.  But most of these companies take your money and do little to help. 

For the seventh time in three months, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against a company it says, “falsely promised to save consumers thousands on credit card debt.” 

This time it was a Florida company, Innovative Wealth Builders, Inc,(IWB).  Since 2009, the company  allegedly made cold-calls to consumers to pitch a deceptive credit card rate reduction program. They charged between $500 and $2,000 and promised to refund all fees if the consumers didn’t get action.

The FTC says, IWB didn’t help.  Instead they sent consumers a “financial plan,” which compared debt reduction if they paid the monthly minimum on what they owed to what their debt might be if they paid a larger amount each month.  When dissatisfied consumers demanded refunds, the FTC’s complaint alleges the IWB refused.

So at the FTC’s request a federal judge in Tampa  temporarily shut down the IWB until the complaints against it are settled.

One company may be out of business temporarily,  but there are many, many more.  How should you treat these telemarketers when they call offering a service?  Our video offers good advice.

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.